Community Foundations

Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities. Community foundations vary widely in asset size, ranging from less than $100,000 to more than $1.7 billion.

Community foundations play a key role in identifying and solving community problems. In 2011, they gave an estimated $4.3 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in fields that included the arts and education, health and human services, the environment, and disaster relief. The Community Foundations National Standards Board confirms operational excellence in six key areas—mission, structure, and governance; resource development; stewardship and accountability; grantmaking and community leadership; donor relations; and communications. Foundations that comply with these standards can display the official National Standards Seal. Right now nearly 500 community foundations have earned the seal.

More than 750 community foundations operate in urban and rural areas in every state in the United States; currently, more than 570 belong to the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. According to the 2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report, there are 1,680 community foundations in 51 countries. Forty-six percent exist outside of the United States. You can use our Community Foundation Locator to view a list of community foundations in the United States.

Below is everything on our site for community foundations. We highly recommend that you use the navigation or our search feature to find what you're looking for on our site.

Engage With Your Lawmakers Today!

Advocacy and engagement with lawmakers is an essential part of preserving and strengthening philanthropy. It provides an opportunity for you to communicate—in a variety of ways—the positive impact of charitable giving in the lives of their constituents every day, and ensure that they understand how the decisions they make in Washington matter at home.

Many recognize this. From those who do, we hear:

The Council has concerns about proposals in recent years that would expand the scope of the unrelated business income tax.

The Council opposes any policy proposal that would eliminate types of supporting organizations and reduce the variety and flexibility of charitable giving tools available to foundations and donors alike.

In 2014, the Cleveland Foundation became the first community foundation in the world to turn 100 years old.  After Frederick H. Goff founded Cleveland’s community foundation in 1914, the idea quickly took off across the United States and today there are an estimated 1,800 community foundations worldwide.  This year, six more community foundations are celebrating their centennials with exciting investments in their communities.

Delivered Monday, July 13 during the 2015 NAACP National Convention along with Senator Casey, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman G.K. Butterfield and more.

The full video remarks can be viewed here with Vikki Spruill starting at 1:11. 

Originally featured on the Knight Foundation Blog on July 8, 2015

Interning at the Council on Foundations is giving us a great look at a cross-section of the philanthropic field. The Council’s members, after all, come in all shapes and sizes – large, small, corporate, community foundations, and everything in between. As much as we research them, as much as we hear their names thrown around, the opportunity to actually visit and connect with a member really brought our work into context.

On July 26th, we mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA25), which prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The impact of the ADA on grant-funded projects in healthcare, education and housing has been significant, as the 57 million Americans with disabilities comprise the nation’s largest minority.